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Five Million Years to Earth (1967)
"Quatermass and the Pit" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Sci-Fi, Horror  |  16 February 1968 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,442 users  
Reviews: 125 user | 64 critic

A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called into to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.

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(original story), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Andrew Keir ...
Barbara Shelley ...
...
Duncan Lamont ...
Bryan Marshall ...
...
Howell
Edwin Richfield ...
Minister
Grant Taylor ...
Police Sergeant Ellis
Maurice Good ...
Sergeant Cleghorn
Robert Morris ...
Jerry Watson
Sheila Steafel ...
Journalist
Hugh Futcher ...
Sapper West
Hugh Morton ...
Elderly Journalist
Thomas Heathcote ...
Vicar
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Storyline

While digging a new subway line in London, a construction crew discovers first: a skeleton, then what they think is an old World War II German missile. Upon closer examination the "missile" appears to be not of this earth! This movie examines the age old question of how we came to be on this planet. It is surprisingly scary. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Force more powerful than 1,000 H-Bombs unleashed to devastate earth! World in panic! Cities in flames! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 February 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Five Million Years to Earth  »

Box Office

Budget:

£275,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the three Hammer Horror "Quatermass" films, this is the only one which "Quatermass" creator Nigel Kneale personally liked. This was largely to the fact that he was much happier with Andrew Keir's performance as the title character than he had been with Brian Donlevy's in The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) and Enemy from Space (1957). He described Donlevy as "a former Hollywood heavy gone to seed" and claimed that he was drunk during much of the shooting of the latter film, a claim which its director Val Guest repudiated. See more »

Goofs

The top half of a complete skeleton is revealed when the workman pulls a lump of clay away with his shovel. But during the press conference, the archaeologist says they've only found some skull fragments and lower limbs. Liar. See more »

Quotes

Minister of Defense: You realise what you're implying? That we owe our human condition here to the intervention of insects?
See more »

Connections

Follows The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Deserted Harbour
(uncredited)
Music by Dennis Farnon
Boosey & Hawkes Music Ltd
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User Reviews

One of the greatest science fiction films ever made - in fact my favorite.
14 May 2004 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This film is not your usual sci-fi monster from the deep or outer space but a story based on comprehensible logic - the suggestion that the human mind and it's psychic and sixth sense qualities was the result of alien intervention with our ancestral primates millions of years ago. Andrew Keir plays a fine role as the tweedy dressed sometimes gruff gentleman professor, Bernard Quatermass who teams up with equally amiable James Donald as Dr.Mathew Roney and his attractive female assistant Barbara Shelley as Barbara Judd to solve the riddle of a strange craft and several ape like skeletons unearthed during the reconstruction of an underground London railway station. At first thought to be an unexploded second world war missile an Army demolition team is brought in to disarm it, led by the bombastic single minded military thinking Colonel Breen played by Julian Glover who scoffs at the theories of the two scientists that this could be anything more than a German V weapon. The finding of large insect like creatures preserved within the hull of the craft and an analysis of their physical attributes leads Quatermass and Roney to conclude that they are Martians who along with their ape like passengers were killed as a result of a crash landing five million years beforehand. Quatermass also speculates that the apes had been previously taken from Earth to Mars and altered in order to give them Martian thinking characteristics which were then inherited by their human descendants. Breen dismisses the insect creatures as fakes and convinces his government superiors that the missile is safe, against the advice of Quatermass, Roney and Judd who have already discovered sinister awakenings within the craft after a workman dismantling his drill therein is seized upon by an invisible propelling force along with terrifying mental images. When the public and press are admitted to the site the craft comes to life generating a ghostly devil looking apparition, along with the now mind affected local population banding into groups and unleashing a killing spree on their own kind. Quatermass and Roney must now pool their scientific expertise to neutralize the menace and restore order. Nigel Kneale's compelling screenplay is sheer brilliance and gives this film a distinct and special uniqueness in the world of science fiction. A must see for the serious minded movie watcher.


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